How did you really feel reading the above headline?
If you're like me, you felt an instant little shot of anxiety.
If you didn't, you are allowed to stop reading...;) But, the truth seems to be, that in my experience, most people, especially and unfortunately, women, do not know how to negotiate properly for themselves, and not just in relation to financial interactions: This happens in business, day-to-day work challenges, family and friendship boundary issues, and, really most importantly-with themselves and their own instincts…
It seem different and inaccurate to speak about negotiating, say, a financial business proposition, with, for example, jockeying for the best room in the group cottage you're renting with family this summer, but is it really that different?
Considering both options leaves one with usually a very similar body-mind anxiety trap: You tense up just thinking about it, maybe even start to perspire a bit, all the while thinking that this situation will end up like the last-and you will end up as you maybe felt before-frustrated and unhappy with the result.
I am certainly NOT a business coach, or a family therapist, for that matter, but I want to share a few techniques and tips that I have been personally working on lately:
When Negotiating For Business:
What do you really want out of this transaction? A better career position? More money? Recognition? Get to the bottom of it. It's important to know. How does the proposed deal really feel? That little ping of anxiety in the pit of your stomach (or chest, or heart) I was talking about? That is absolutely your intuition talking to you. So, talk back to it. Get out your journal, or pen and paper, and ask it: What is the problem, here? Do you perhaps not like/respect/trust the person, in a way that is comfortable for you? Forget about your "comfort zone" here, for a moment. This is not a test of that. This is your Intuition reaching out and appealing to you, by making you un-comfortable in your body. Really try listening to it. Keep asking until you maybe get an answer that never even occurred to you. Maybe the answer is: "I have spent far too much time advancing other's projects. It is now time to work on my own stuff!" Let your Intuition advocate for you. It wants to, it is longing to do this. It is trying. I promise.
If the thought of renegotiating genuinely fills with you too much dread, but you have decided that that is absolutely what you must do, then write it in an email instead, and, if possible, have something new drawn up, contract-wise, with the help of a lawyer. Especially if you are doing business with friends, this is the only way not to feel slighted and misaligned, moving forward. Are you possibly leaving yourself open for disaster, in a professional sense? Maybe. But-you are making yourself vulnerable. At least give the offer a little negotiation-padding, so, when in person, you have some wiggle room when the other party tries to then renegotiate. And remember, this is truly a baby step if you have not negotiated anything significant before. The re-writtern contract alone should alert the person that you know your worth, understand what is at stake, and value your own participation in the project. If you and the other party have only have a handwritten or typed agreement, rewrite/type that yourself, on your own terms, and submit that to them. Baby steps, baby! Remember that.
When Negotiating with Friends or Family:
Some of you may be like, "What's the Big Deal?" Again, that is awesome, you are a badass who knows how to stand up for themselves! Good for you! For the rest of us, that frozen feeling may have been felt again-just reading the above headline. Here are some situations that may come up for you this summer when dealing with friends or family, and here a few tips to deal with them:
Traveling with Friends or Family?
Usually, things of this manner that come up are: Who is booking the Air B-n-B/hotel/cottage? How do we split up the rent/groceries/supplies? Who is doing the cooking? Who is watching the kids, when so-and-so goes hiking/waterskiing/diving, oh my?
If you have an unruly band of friends or family, but they are generally good for paying everyone back, put yourself in charge, if you have time, of booking and scheduling, if this appeals to you. If not, figure out who the hell in your group loves it! Believe me, even in the most slap-dash crowd, there is a Type A lurking in your midst. Find them! Anoint them! Lavish them with praise!
Make it your job to put this new A-Gamer in charge of booking the place, paying (then getting reimbursed-and believe me, they will get reimbursed, don't worry about them!) making up a cooking schedule-wherein a different party does dinner on alternating nights for EVERYONE (and procures and pays for groceries on said night) and compiling a loose list and perhaps schedule of local activities. Suggest to the A-Gamer that they utilize any teens in your midst to help babysit the little kids and supervise the older ones-but for a fee-which the A-Gamer will come up with. (Show these teens what they are worth early on, and they will never have to read an article like this!) If your group is fancier, and tends to go out to eat as a large group more often, put your A-Gamer happily in charge of divvying-up the bill for everyone, iPhone at the ready.
And you know what? Without even asking, this A-Gamer will probably know to place which people in what rooms by need of their kids/significant others, or will simply be savvy enough to start a convenient flip-a-coin or lottery system to divvy up rooms once everyone finally arrives. Continue to empower these people in your midst! They love it, they will truly make your life a charm, and will help everyone's vacation to be fantastic. Make sure them to get them a great bottle wine when all is said and done, or treat them to a nice lunch on the trip.
So, you see? Sometimes your self-worth depends on valuing other's strengths around you, too. Sometimes it is all about knowing when you are NOT being properly valued, listing to your gut, and getting the hell out of the situation, if you cannot negotiate for what you really want and need. (And remember- sometimes what you really want and need is to bolt.) ;)
I do know how difficult and anxiety-producing this all can be, and I respect each and every one of us who chooses to advocate on your own behalf, no matter how little or daunting the situation may seem to the outside world-at-large. I am with you! Feel free to tell us about any recent journeys, and how they turned out...xo